Last week I was at a rented cabin up at Minnedosa, writin’ words and takin’ photos. I had a bunch of goals for the week, but how’d I do?Continue reading “Writing Retreat 2021: The week in review”
On Friday, I:
- Continued outlining “Praise The Torch”
- Did some update work on my grant application
- Read more Zero History—I think I’m just about halfway through now
- Went for a bike ride—not a long one, but I climbed a lot of hills and got a few photos
- Watched a few more Firefly episodes
I decided that, even though the sky was clear, I’d stay in and not keep myself awake past 2 am again. I was in bed reading by 11 and asleep before midnight, and I think that was the right decision.
And now I’m going to start packing up the cabin. My time here draws short. As always, I’m feeling conflicting emotions: I’ll be happy to be home, but I’d love another week doing this kind of thing too.
Vacations: They’re Never Long Enough.
- Worked some more on “The Slow Apocalypse” (minor edits in several sections, and a new chapter in the “What we will lose the fire” sequence, excerpted below)
- Also worked on the “Praise the Torch” outline—I feel like I’m getting close to endgame, but I keep going back and adding things in so they’ll pay off later
- Watched a truck try to maneuver a new cabin into the cabin area (eventually they did it, though they had to trim a couple evergreens back)
- Drove back out to Spruces for some more Milky Way photos (it was calmer, and I got to listen to the waves on the shore and the occasional loon)
Jane had fallen asleep. No, that was too gentle a term for it. Jane had collapsed into unconsciousness, and soft snores, well-earned, came from her bed. Night had fallen, outside, and Mímir paced slowly back and forth in front of the window, looking out onto a view of parked cars under a light dusting of snow, six stories below, the lot illuminated by great lights, bright white fringed in violet, on tall, thin metal poles. The boy slept against his shoulder, wrapped in a white-and-blue hospital sheet of napped cotton fleece.
Mímir wondered what his dreams might be, if they would even make sense to anyone not a newborn.From “The Slow Apocalypse”
The two images above were taken with my 50mm lens, which results in a much tighter shot than the 11–14mm that I usually use for night photography. Both the images above are composites; the one with the trees is 2 shots merged into one (you can probably see the seam), and the other is a stack of 6 images, manually merged, to try to bring out the detail in a segment of the galaxy.
The image at the top is one of about 200, the only one where I caught a Perseid meteor in the frame. (I did see quite a few last night, about a dozen or so, including three very bright ones. I think the one in the photo is one of the earlier ones, and I remember thinking after it had burned up, I hope I got that on camera.)
On Wednesday, I:
- Rewrote a scene in “The Slow Apocalypse”
- Got lunch to go from the local coffeeshop with my friend Tim, who’s on his way home from camping at Wasagaming
- Continued outlining for “Praise the Torch”
- Went for a bike ride (it was pretty windy, but at least it was at my back on the way back to the cabin)
- Drove to a side road off Mountain Road and watched for Perseids
I saw about six or eight meteors with the naked eye, and caught a few small ones and one longer one with my camera. I was on the side road in the dark for about an hour. Maybe I was too early for the 40–60/hour that the websites claimed you’d see on the peak night of the meteor shower.
- Wrote more in the outline for “Praise the Torch”
- Went for a bike ride (it was cool when I started, but warmed up as the sun came out)
- Read about a dozen chapters in William Gibson’s Zero History—it’s been a long time since I read it, so it’s pretty much like reading it again for the first time
- Reworked a chapter in “The Slow Apocalypse” and made minor changes in a few other places
- Watched some Firefly
- Met up with my friend Tim (who was camping at Wasagaming) at Spruces for some very dark sky photos (it’s been a long time since I saw the Milky Way so prominent to the naked eye)
I saw a couple of meteors at Spruces, including one large, slow one that unfortunately wasn’t where my camera was aimed.
I woke up thinking I heard hail. It turned out to be only rain—at times heavy rain—but almost every cabin around here has a metal roof, which amplifies that kind of thing.
No bike ride and no kayak trip. I wisely forgot to pack a raincoat for my retreat here, so that was great planning on my part.
- More development on the “Praise the Torch When ‘Tis Burned” outline—the story is firming up in my mind, at least, and that’s a good feeling
- Rewrote the bulk of a scene between the POV wizard and his lawyer wife, sippin’ Welsh whiskey in a restaurant called Swansea, in “The Slow Apocalypse”
- Watched a couple episodes of Firefly
- Tried to get some photos of the rain; the only one I liked is above (it’s been a while since I saw water beading on a telephone line)
Some of the thunder was pretty exciting—shake-the-cabin exciting—but I couldn’t get a good angle to set up and try to get some lightning photos. Oh well, can’t win every time.
In my first full day at the cabin, I:
- Worked on the outline for “Praise the Torch When ‘Tis Burned” (aka the “ghosts in a derelict starship” story)
- Went for a bike ride, snapped a few photos (one of which I liked—the “On Reflection” below)
- Stopped in at the store for a couple of groceries that I forgot
- Decided, on seeing how many people in the store were maskless—including at least one employee—that I’m going to make do with what I’ve got for as long as I can
- Went for a drive to check out a possible photo site discovered by my friend Tim
- Met up with Tim in Sandy Lake for a physically-distanced chin-wag on the sidewalk
- Worked some more on the “Torch” outline
- Realized at about 10:15 pm that
- I didn’t have enough fuel to get me to the photo site I’d checked out earlier and back, and
- all the gas stations in my vicinity were closed
- Watched an episode of Firefly
- Checked the sky just before midnight—nice and dark and clear—then looked up “Dark Sky Sites Near Me”
- Decided to check out a fairly close site, about fifteen minutes’ drive from the cabin
- Got the header photo (and a couple others)
- Returned to the cabin at 1:30am and dropped into bed.
It’s that time of year again: the 2021 edition of my writing retreat has begun. I booked my time at the cabin to coincide with the new moon, to make for some better astrophotography opportunities, and then found out later that, coincidentally, I’d also be up here for the peak of the Perseid meteor shower.Continue reading “Writing Retreat 2021, Day Zero”
TL;DR: They loved it.
A while back, I backed a Kickstarter for Augur Magazine, a Canadian SF/F zine. I selected the level that would get me an editorial review of a 5,000-word story.
When contacted, I realized I’d like a review of one of my current WiPs, a probably-novella-length piece titled “The Slow Apocalypse”. I asked if it would be acceptable to send the first 5,000 words of a longer piece, and was told that would be fine. So I polished it up as best I could and sent it off.
Last night I got the review, and…phew. I mean, I’m pretty proud of the story so far—though it’s still in about the 1½th draft—but I wasn’t expecting the rave reviews I got from the editor.
I’ve asked permission to include some of their comments here, and they said “Sure!” as long as I didn’t name names. So here’s some of what you can expect once I finally finish this piece and start sending it around for those of you that pre-read my work.
I think the characterization is excellent here. It is what I loved the most. I got strong senses of who each of the people were…
Another aspect I loved was the language. I’m a poet as well as a fiction writer, so I like to pay attention to diction in the pieces I read—the images and the tones that are invited in and revealed. I highlighted a few instances of phrases and words that I felt stood out to me in a very arresting and reflective way. This is one of the reasons I felt this excerpt was very polished.
The worldbuilding here was excellent, too, both of New York, and of the magical elements. The information was woven seamlessly into the lives, dialogue, and priorities of the characters, and none of it felt stilted. Of course, I do have questions[, but n]othing of what you revealed here made me frustrated, or like you were hiding something from me.
Every time I read The Slow Apocalypse, I smiled.
Every time I read these notes on my story, I smile.
A bunch of rejections cropped up in my email in the last week or so. I know it’s part of the job (the game? the process?), but it’s not all that much fun.
As I was gearing up to re-submit the pieces in question, though, I got a cheery little message from a friend and fellow author, which made me feel better about the whole thing.
Meant to say I quite enjoyed your story “The Smoke” and I hope you find a good placement for it. Didn’t have much else to add, I like the narrator and the ending. […] Great job!
So, thanks for that, Chadwick.
Currently “The Smoke” is in the middle of editing, but I assure you I’ll be sending it back to him when it’s ready for the next round. If you’d like to read it too—it’s a viking/Iceland–inspired ghost story… in space!—do let me know.